Power Consumption

The beauty of a console is that the specs never change, so while AMD, Intel and NVIDIA have to try to add new features or increase clock speeds with each die shrink, Microsoft gets to sit back and reap the benefits of cooler running hardware that's cheaper to manufacture. The move from Xenon to Falcon resulted in a pretty significant reduction in power consumption; under full load a Falcon Xbox 360 drew less power than a Xenon unit at idle.

The Falcon to Jasper transition isn't quite as dramatic unfortunately. I ran five power tests, I looked at power consumption at the NXE dashboard at idle, power consumption at the main menu of Rockband 2, Halo 3 and Gears of War 2, and finally if you don't own any of these games but want a comparison point I looked at power consumption of the Xbox 360 while running the BioShock demo (at the very start of the demo when you find yourself in the water surrounded by fire). Power consumption during actual gameplay doesn't go up much, if at all, compared to the start screens for these games - the main menu screens are all rendered in 3D and are apparently just as stressful as the games themselves, plus they're a very consistent way of measuring power consumption.

I used a Watts-Up meter which the Xbox 360 plugged into, so what we're looking at here is total system power consumption.

Xbox 360 Revision System Off Idle Halo 3 Rockband 2 Gears of War 2 BioShock Demo
Xenon 2.3W 155.7W 177.8W 167.7W 177.1W 172W
Falcon 2.8W 101.4W 121.2W 112.8W 121.5W 115.5W
Jasper 2.0W 93.7W 105.9W 101.0W 105.9W 98.1W

 

Overall you're looking at a 12% reduction in total system power under load and under 8% at idle, definitely not the ~30 - 35% drop we saw with the Xenon to Falcon transition, but not insignificant either. Remember that the smaller your transistors get, the more leakage current becomes a problem; while your transistors use less power, they also tend to use more power when they are in a logical off state than they should. There have also been a number of advancements in architecting for low power designs over the past couple of years that Microsoft hasn't taken advantage of as they would require a redesign of the 360's CPU/GPU. Microsoft is in full blown cost savings mode with the Xbox 360, the only things that will be done to that console before it dies are things to improve the Xbox division's bottom line.

Final Words

There you have it. Jasper is out and now we play the waiting game to see if the dreaded RRoD is finally solved with the latest batch of hardware changes. Even if it's not, if you are buying an Xbox 360 today you might as well opt for the cooler running, newly redesigned Jasper model rather than the year-old Falcon. Why pay the same amount for old hardware, it's just not the AnandTech way.

And once again, to those of you with Jaspers: congrats, after 3 years you may have just bought an Xbox 360 that won't die.

Jasper Dissection
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  • Dinsdale1 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    When sending a Elite on to repair for RROD, do they put in a Japer board? I mean why put in an old board that will cause a new RROD in a year? Anybody? Reply
  • Frallan - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link


    Is it as loud as it was before? That is what has kept me from buying 1 so far.

    /F
    Reply
  • Roy2001 - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Anand, could you put some noise benchmarks? I have 2 original xbox's and they are very noisy. I am thinking to get a 360, but I really hate the noise...

    Thanks,
    Roy
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    Unfortunately the loudest thing in the 360 is still the DVD drive, I didn't notice a audible difference between the Falcon and the Jasper.

    -A
    Reply
  • gohepcat - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    Ohh god yes. Please give some noise comparisons Reply
  • SuckRaven - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    "First let's get the codenames right. The first Xbox 360 was released in 2005 and used a motherboard codenamed Xenon. The Xenon platform featured a 90nm Xenon CPU (clever naming there), a 90nm Xenos GPU and a 90nm eDRAM. Microsoft added HDMI support to Xenon and called it Zephyr, the big three chips were still all 90nm designs."

    Just thought I'd make the observation that Intel's server and workstation CPUs are called Xeon, not Xenon.

    Xenon is the noble gas used in car headlights.

    Anyways...
    Reply
  • James5mith - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    "Just thought I'd make the observation that Intel's server and workstation CPUs are called Xeon, not Xenon.

    Xenon is the noble gas used in car headlights.

    Anyways... "

    You do know that the tri-core CPU within the Xbox360 isn't made by Intel, right?

    It's a PowerPC chip, codenamed Xenon. Thus his comment about Xenon being a clever naming scheme for the entire original platform. (Just name it after the CPU's codename.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360
    Reply
  • js01 - Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - link

    It's kind of pathetic the amount of money some of us spend on our pc just to play console ports that run worse then 4 year old hardware. Reply
  • bill3 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    See my post on page 1.

    It isnt an X800, thats an inaccuracy by Anand. It's more of a X1800/1900 class card, just as PS3 uses a 500 mhz 7800/7900GTX.

    I think your point is pretty valid though. PC's today just mostly get console ports that dont take advantage of the superior PC hardware. The only game in the last few years built to take advatage of PC really is Crysis.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - link

    I would say Fallout 3 was one of them that got a good PC version. Reply

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